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In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Last Life in the Universe, directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang



Ride this film out and you shall not be dissapointed. To say this movie is slow would be considered a lie, but I feel it is safe to say that the movie may seem largely very uneventful. At first, the style and pacing of the film is a little daunting as it made me question whether or not I was currently in the mood for a film that was...well...quite lofty. But I'm glad I didn't turn it off because this is one helluva film.

Kenji, handled masterfully by the always enjoyable Tadanobu Asano, is a lonely man who seeks to end his own life. A few unfortunate things happen along the way and by pure happenstance Kenji is introduced to a girl, Noi. It reads like a typical story of loner's life is given new meaning by a chance meeting with a girl, Noi, but this film is playing on a level far above that. The story, which plays out secondary to many other aspects of the film, isn't of as much concern as the characters are and the way in which Kenji and Noi interact with each other. It is an intriguing people film that has an ending that is just magnificently crafted.

I wasn't a big fan of Lost in Translation. I felt it was bogged down heavily by the need for subtlety and quirkness (hey look, isn't Japan just kooky!) and as a result any meaningful interaction between the two visitors was lost. The two films couldn't be more different, but while watching it I couldn't help but think that this is what Lost in Translation should have been. It should have handled two people's dopey-eyed exploration of the unknown as this movie handled it, by not drawing attention to the incompatibilities, to let them play themselves out. Last Life in the Universe doesn't put anything on the frontlines that is a distraction from the relationship between the two people. Even if Kenji is standing in a room all by himself, which happens quite often in the film, he is existing on a level that Sofia Coppola just couldn't conjure up. Then again, Tadanobu Asano is one helluva an actor when it comes to just not saying anything.

Though I will admit that initially I thought the movie was going to draw too much attention to the half irony of the situation at hand, such as Kenji tripping on his suicide rope after a failed attempt and that it'd come off as cutesy, but it lost this feeling very, very early on.

And who can ever complain when Christopher Doyle is behind the camera? The cinematography is a feast for the eyes and the sound design is top notch (I'm all about the things the filmmaker doesn't let us hear that we may expect to hear). The score isn't anything memorable, but it is certainly appropriate for the film and compliments the etheral feeling the film as perfectly.

Last Life in the Universe gets a hearty recommendation for me, but only on the condition that you are a patient viewer. The minutes may coast by, but if you are craving a film that doesn't have chunks of time in which nothing is ever said then this film isn't for you - not just yet.



Last Life in the Universe is a wonderfully sweet, sweet film that evokes a floating feeling in the viewer as the frames just dance across the screen as if they were on clouds.

EDIT: I forgot to mention it has Takashi Miike in it. Seriously now, how can you pass up a movie that Takashi Miike and Christopher Doyle were involved in? They are two of cinema's most staunch auteurs, their mere presence on the same film must have created some warp in the fabric of time.
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Latest Movie Review(s): Too lazy to keep this up to date. New reviews every week.



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it sounds really interesting thanks for the great review
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Thanks for the review, t'is another film i've had my eye on.

Btw OG, saw Dead End, shame about the ending i thought.
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In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Originally Posted by Pyro Tramp
Thanks for the review, t'is another film i've had my eye on.

Btw OG, saw Dead End, shame about the ending i thought.
Yeah, the ending is a pity, but it's such a fun flick in all other aspects that I can forgive it. Hope you had as good time watching it as I have, that movie is a hoot!



there's a frog in my snake oil
Originally Posted by OG-
Last Life in the Universe, directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang...
D'oh! My local blockbuster had a copy of that, and i was so surprised i forgot to pick it up. I just ran. It was all too freaky.

Must watch.....!

Nice review OG*







* - the '*' stands for 'star'
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In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Man, it is freaky how good that movie is. I'm craving to watch it again and I don't know why... It just sucks you in by letting so much happen without ever actually having anything huge happen. Now I'm sad I already sent it back to Netflix.

Hope you guys enjoy it..

And thanks for the star Golg.

Funny, after 5 years on these forums I'm finally starting to feel like I actual can form some kind of coherent post about movies. Today was the first day anyone ever PM'ed me asking for a movie recommendation. Brought a tear to my bitter eye...



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
"Veronica Mars", created by Rob Thomas, 2004



The first season of "Veronica Mars" is so damned good it hurts. If you try to deconstruct the influences on the show, which are certainly a plenty, you could easily bill it as a homogenization of "Twin Peaks", "Buffy", "90210" and even "the X-Files", but while all are obviously loved by the show's creators and writers, Veronica Mars is perfectly capable of standing on its own two feet with pride.

The first episode of the show sets up the entire season, in a very Twin Peaks way: who really killed Lilly Kane and why? The structure of the show is formulaic in the sense that essentially every episode is the same - Veronica is hired by classmates to solve some kind of mystery while secretly trying to unravel as many clues as possible as to who killed Lilly, why they killed Lilly and even where the hell her mom is - but it maintains a refreshing and brisk pace throughout the whole season.

The show is peppy, quirky and perfectly cast. Each character goes through an arch that is just wonderful to observe. The plot doesn't get stale and towards the end gets to be absolutely fan-freaking-tastic, to the point where I was often throwing my hands up in the air, completely giving in to the show. I think I even got close to crying at one point. It is that good.

My only criticism is that it doesn't really have episodes that are remarkably memorable, it is the overall connecting nature of the show that is memorable. Each episode contains so much plot development that they all blend together. Or maybe that's just because I watched the entire season in a span of maybe 4 days.

I never knew UPN was capable of producing a show that was this damned good. I don't think anyone did.

I love "Lost", I saw the pilot a few months before it aired and was instantly hooked, but pound for pound season 1 of "Veronica Mars" may be a better show simply because they introduce the mystery and across 22 episodes they actually resolve the mystery. Imagine that? 25 episodes of "Lost" and not a damned thing was ever resolved....

However, in the interest of full disclosure..."Veronica Mars" is moronically slotted against "Lost"'s possesed hour, but as season 2 has just started for both, I will watch "Lost" as it airs and watch VM later - "Lost" is crack.

Anyways, it gets my absolute highest recommendation. See the first season, it is phenomenal. It works on levels 98% of the other shows on network TV simply do not. It is funny, crazy, dark, mysterious, sexy and just all around polished - especially as the episodes progress.




In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
3-Iron, Directed by Kim Ki-Duk, 2004



This is one of the best films I've seen all year long, if not the best. I consider it an absolute masterpiece. The gauntlet has been thrown.

This was actually my first introduction to Kim Ki-Duk after hearing nothing but high praise for Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring I knew he was supposed to be a fine director, but I had no idea he was this good. The way he tells this story is just jaw dropping. It is a beautiful story of forbidden love between a simple man and a trapped housewife. The relationship forged in this movie is one of the most beautiful on screen relationships I've seen in I don't even know how long and throughout the films 90 minute running time the words exchanged between these two could be counted on one hand. Transforming silence and inaction into love is no easy feat and yet Kim Ki-Duk treats it like it is just second nature. I'm sure it wasn't the case, but this movie hits such a perfect stride that you'd think making the movie was almost effortless, yet thinking about each scene and the set up of each shot one can only imagine the thought process behind it all. I am in awe.

It is a movie about sacrifice and insecurities, about taking hold of your world and about becoming untethered to what you know. It takes nothing for granted and manifests every emotion it has all by itself. I couldn't help but think of Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny while watching 3-Iron and think to myself that he wishes he could make a movie that was an eighth as good as this movie is. The two films have nothing in common in terms of story, in fact they're wildly different, but Gallo tried to create tenderness out of silence between strangers and he fell on his face, whereas Kim just dominates.

I don't even want to get into any more of a description of the film's events or story arch, I just implore that you take my word for it and see this amazing film as soon as possible. It is just beautiful.

3-Iron is flawless.



And the music!! My, God, the music!!! This film will woo you and sweep you away. Do not wait.



Can we try with real bullets now?
Thanks for the Veronica Mars review......I've heard a lot of good things about it, but still avoided it because I fear all UPN original programs and I enjoyed your 3-Iron review and hope to watch it soon

Argh!! Post number 666!!
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In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Thanks you two.

And Misirlou, I felt the same way about Veronica Mars but was stunned by how utterly fantastic of a show it is. It comes out on DVD next week and while it heartily gets my endorsement as a blind buy, at the least you (and everyone) should definetely rent it. You'll get sucked in.

And everyone should get their hands on a copy of 3-Iron as soon as is humanly possible.



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
6ixtynin9 (Ruang talok 69), directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, 1999



Pen-Ek Ratanaruang is really starting to earn a high spot in my list of directors whose works I'm trying to track down. Last Life in the Universe was beautiful and 6ixtynin9 is just a subdued riot.

A recently unemployed woman, Tum, accidently recieves $25,000 at her doorstep, due to the constant slipping of the number on her door, dropping from room 6 to room 9. While in the process of trying to decide if she should give the money back or not, two gangsters force themsevles into her door...two dead bodies later and our gal now has $25,000.

The violence is peppered throughout, but isn't over the top though there is often a decent amount of blood on display. One area where the movie really shines is through the great humor and the, fairly Elmore Leondard-esque, remarkably clever script. It just gets better and better as it goes along, introducing a surprisingly wide variety of subplots and characters who for the most part wind up on the floor in some capacity or another. And the movie just gets funnier as the bodies start piling up around our hero and she still keeps her cool, defiantly pursuing her new found fortune.

The same craft mastered in Last Life is clearly in the developmental stages here, but Pen-Ek still knows how to work silence and above all his actors in this early work of his. Lalita Panyopas is really great as Tum, never going over the top, playing it serious the whole time and still eliciting a plethora of smiles with her actions. All of the supporting characters are fantastic, especially a sex-obsessed, nosey, house-wife neighbor and her clique of middle aged girlfriends.

It's just an overall great flick. It certainly isn't flawless or the first of its kind, but it maintains a lot of originality throughout and enough nuances to keep you coming back for more. It's the small things that really make the movie worth it. The small plot points and the small tricks and tweaks that Pen-Ek uses to make us flinch or laugh. I particulairly liked the subtitles for a deaf character's sign language that were just a black bar, hehe.



6ixtynin9 may not be a one of a kind, but it is a gem - highly enjoyable and a nice early entry from a fantastic director.

I'd highly recommend a two night viewing of 6ixtynin9 and Last Life in the Universe, it'd be a great night.



Originally Posted by OG-

I'd highly recommend a two night viewing of 6ixtynin9 and Last Life in the Universe, it'd be a great night.
Sounds good Thanks for the review



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
The Descent, directed by Neil Marshall, 2005



What a freaking headache.

I'm not the worldest biggest fan of Dog Soldiers, I think it is a decent enough flick, but I thought buzz was very solid about The Descent...

Maybe it was, the movie is a piece though. From the get go it is very trying. The characters were resoundingly uninteresting and wooden, not to mention unrealistic. I've met a good deal of women in my short life span, dare I even say a good deal of very attractive women, but not a single one that is not only very attractive, but a mountain climbing, white water craving, spelunker. Seriously, Neil Marshall, cast some people who at least fit the bill. This is in no way a dig at women by saying they typically don't seek the extreme 'sports' or me saying that one who does has to be ugly. If you're going to have a movie that abandons realism in regards to the plot, you either need to have painfully real characters are monumentally absurd ones.

But not only are the characters wildly unrelateable, they're barely given any development and introduction. Once people start dying, save for the two or three who did get something that resembled an introduction, you can barely tell who is actually dying - they're all the same.

I'm no geologist, but I do know that there are still an unknown amount of caves to be discovered. But why in hell would some random chic, who of course has zero backstory, have knowledge of a cave that no one else has ever explored? That just doesn't make any ****ing sense.

The camera work was only half inspired and often times just annoying. Not to mention the score that just stabs sharply at the brain. Bah!

The only, only, place this film exceeds is with the creatures. They're crafted and introduced with a skill and understanding of how to do so that isn't evident in any other aspect of the film. They look great and move fantastically. But that is about as far as they go and as far as the movie goes.

I have to go take some Tylenol.



The One Sentence Review - I've seen Sci-Fi channel original productions that are better than The Descent.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
I absolutely loved Dog Soldiers and will be checking this flick out.
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Suspect's Reviews



I agree with most of your comments regarding The Descent but end of the day, it is a horror film and i didn't go in looking for character development or a high degree of realism. Plausability is always good but it's not a complete necessity considering the topic matter though some of the character's actions did seem a tad too off. As it stood, i thought it had a tight pacing and a unnerving atmosphere with some good action. It didn't suffer the cheese which lots of horror does, i thought it was an unflinching and graphic experience and i actually found myself scared, which is a rarity as most films tend to make you jump opposed to actually scared. So yeah, i liked it and am sorry you didn't. I also adore Dog Soldiers, though maybe i'm biased towards it's British origins......